The Katikiro (Prime Minister) of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, has shot back at Justice Catherine Bamugemeire on the recommendation her Land Commission has made to abolish the Mailo land system,saying it is both un acceptable and against Buganda’s interests.
Mayiga made the rebuttal at Bulange Mengo this week while receiving gifts, on behalf of the Kabaka, from Bulemeezi County delegates. They were participating in Oluwalo, a fundraising programme involving all Buganda’s twenty counties.
Mayiga accused Bamugemereire’s Land Commission of using Mailo land as a scapegoat in the on-going mix of Uganda’s land-related problems. He said it is only escapist and therefore “very far from the panacea to the problems they seek to solve.
“We are not going to accept this; and we are not going to joke about it either, because it is touching the very core of Buganda’s existence, pride and culture,” Mayiga vowed
He instead advised Government to tackle what he called the real problems that governments have been skirting about.
Foremost on his list was, the Uganda Police, which he says has failed to handle land matters transparently and as expeditiously as they require. He said this has said worsened by the sluggishness with which the Judiciary is handling land-related cases
He reminded the Central Government that while the amount of land in Uganda has remained the same, the population has more than doubled over the last century putting more pressure on the land.
This has resulted into, among other problems, land exhaustion which has in turn created increased demand for more land, compounding the already existing pressure on land.
“Uganda’s population has been growing robustly over the last decades; it is among the fastest growing in the world, and yet the size of land supporting the survival of this fast-growing population has remained inelastic, ” Mayiga said.
He added that the repeated use of the same land for agriculture has exhausted it to the extent that people keep on abandoning the already exhausted pieces of land to demand more thereby heightening pressure on the limited land.
“Take an example of a family which has been using one acre of land sufficiently for the last five years, for how long will it remain fertile,” he asked. “The same family must now require two acres or more to grow the same amount of food they used to grow on one acre simply because it has now become increasingly infertile,” he added.
Mayiga’s rebuttal to the Land Commission was expected owing to the fact that the lion’s share of the Mailo land (about 9000 square miles) is confined to Buganda and Bunyoro with some few portions of the same being located in parts of Ankole, Tooro and Bunyoro sub-regions.
The Bamugemereire recommendations come hot on the heels of the Land Amendment Bill being pushed by President Yoweri Museveni, who recently went on a nationwide popularization of the proposed law seeking that Government, be given authority to expropriate privately-owned land for purposes of Government projects.
In addition, the Commission has also called for the disbandment of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), led by Baguma Isoke. While appearing before the probe recently, Isoke surprisingly admitted that ULC has gravely failed on its mandate of protecting the land of Ugandans calling for an end to its existence.